Project type: Tidy towns/village enhancement
Wind Farm Community Benefit
Drumkeeran Tidy Towns group was founded in 1970. In each successive year of the competition, the group built on its record of success and achieved extra points in the competition. Building on this momentum, 2017 marked the group’s entry into its 46th Tidy Towns event.
Critically, the competition has provided a focus for the upkeep and development of Drumkeeran village. In spite of economic decline, rural depopulation and an ever changing streetscape, the community in Drumkeeran has worked together to tackle obstacles, boost morale and village pride.
Key to its recent achievements have been integrating Tidy Towns’ activities with two schools in the village, working with stakeholders including Leitrim County Council and availing of funding from the Windfarm Community Benefit Fund.
While setting its goal on prizewinning in the National Tidy Towns competition, the group identified the area of wildlife and heritage as an important focus area for improvement. The group were united in their aim to improve the quality of life of residents and visitors to Drumkeeran and to maintain and enhance its heritage and character for current and future generations.
To this end, the group successfully secured Wind Farm Community Benefit fund by prioritising the following areas for improvement:
Welcome ‘Fáilte’ sign on the approach roads to the village completed with shrubs and decorative stone €1,539
Wildlife display case with a study of wildlife in the area €950
Hanging Baskets for street poles €870
Restored Irish traditional phone box €2,275
In total, approximately five hundred residents of the village directly benefited from funding. Crucially, there has been a significant spin off from the initial investment in the village. The group have since enhanced the project with the installation of a defibrillator in the replica phone box. Critically, the group plan to training ten local people in its use and in time, the wider community.
What is different in peoples’ lives as a result of this project?
The Tidy Towns project enhanced the village for residents and visitors and brought all age groups out to work together. In addition, the Tidy Towns worked together with local partners to unite under the common goal of enhancing the character of the village, while collaboration brought additional wellbeing benefits to the community.
What unforeseen difficulties (not related to funding), if any, were encountered and how were they overcome?
The group overcame the natural difficulties of working within the confines of a small project committee. To create buy-in to its plans, the group communicated its aims to the wider community. The project also proved to be a significant investment of the groups’ time but this burden was shared once additional community members and stakeholders were on board.
What were the highlights of your project?
The highlight of the project has been the installation of the replica Irish phone box. The phone box really brought a novel and fun element to the project. Not only does it tap into a sense of nostalgia but it also it will have a practical function and hopefully contribute to saving a life.
What were the key lessons learned?
The group were apprehensive about going ahead with expenditure before the grant was received from the Community Benefit Fund. The group learned to commit to their plan and make up the shortfall through community fund raising.
‘’The funding has been fantastic for the village! We have been encouraged by our experience and plan to make another application with even more ambition to improve our village’’ – Aine Bohan, Drumkeeran Tidy Towns
Beneficiary number: WCF2059.
Total project spend: just under €6,000